Patreksfjordur is a small town in the west fjords of Iceland with a population of around 700 people.
It’s surrounded by mountains, and it sits right on a fjord—the kind of place where you sometimes wonder where people are—as you can spend days without really meeting anyone in the street.
Perhaps only one or two cars drive through.
I decided to move here for a few months, as my heart was aching for something new—a fresh start, a new experience, and to expand my perspectives of myself and the world.
This is what I have learned on this journey:
1. I learned who I was without anyone else around me.
No one to impress. No expectations to live up to. I would recommend anyone in their 20s—mostly if you’re a social butterfly like me—to take some distance from the world you live in, from your comfort zone, and spend some time by yourself in nature. It truly makes you reflect on who you are as an individual. There is no pretending anymore. Your soul will be grateful.
2. I learned to let go of the expectations of who I am or “should” be, and what I “should” do.
Well, I thought: Oh yes, having time for myself will give me all these things. I will do this and that, go to the gym every day, go on hikes, spend time outside and accomplish all my dreams without anyone interrupting me. I will find myself.
Well, let me tell you: it ended up with me being in bed binge-watching Netflix and eating instant noodles, because well, I am still human and sometimes in life, things don’t go the way we ‘’want.’’ But, they go the way they need to—because everything is something to learn from.
And you know what I learned ? Self-acceptance. How to love myself through it all. But also, to not hold on too much to this part of me, because I understand it can become unhealthy so, I know my limits and I listen to myself. Easier said than done, but I learned the lesson.
3. I learned that the lack of social interaction can show up in other ways.
Like addiction to the internet. I became aware of the different things we crave as human beings.
The amount of time I spent on Facebook and Instagram was insane. Almost every day, I knee-jerkingly, automatically turned on my computer or phone, and rushed onto social media…
Until one day I just said, “Stop.” My brain felt like it was exploding. I was diving, lost in a sea of self-comparison and drama, and it all came from here. What is the point of being far away from people, and friends to “find myself,’” if I’m simply living through social media? None.
Thank god I realized what was happening, and cut it off before I could lose myself with all that information and bullsh*t.
4. I learned to be in my authenticity without caring what others think about me.
And I learned how to detach myself from everyone around me in a healthy way.
If I can survive alone in such a small town with not much to do, then I can survive feeling lonely in a crowd. And I can even be okay with it. I can survive being in my power and being my authentic self, even if it means losing people along the way (even close friends).
Spending time alone made me realize what my values are—what connects to who I am as a person. I learned about my shadows and my light, and I learned that I am not here to please others; but rather, to live in my truth, for my own self—because by being raw and true to myself, I’ll be able to help others around me in the future.
5. I learned that behind the fear, lies the power.
I had a battle with my anxiety every day that showed up in many ways. I had sleepless nights. I realized I was holding on to so many things in my life that were no longer serving me, that were just feeding my victimhood and addiction to suffering. And that’s okay. But after days of fighting with myself, I realized I was just afraid of letting go—of change within all of the ideas I had about myself—of all my stories and all the masks. Because behind fear, lies my true power. And there is so much light within me, it might blind the whole world.
6. I learned simplicity.
For someone who craves adventure, and generally runs away from routine, trust me, this was hard as hell. But well, the simple things are sometimes the ones that matter the most—like watering the plants, breathing, standing up to get a glass of water. Being satisfied and happy with what is, instead of wanting more complicated things. Being happy with what we have.
7. I learned that nature is just an extension of who we are, and connecting to it, being open to listen, can bring us much more knowledge than what we might think.
I learned how smart and perfect nature is, and how much love it gives. Hiking in the mountains, swimming in the sea, and looking at the waterfalls made me realize everything is perfect on its own. There is so much to learn if we are willing to open ourselves, let go of our beliefs and the stories we’ve been told, and just surrender. This applies to everything in life.
8. I learned not to give a f*ck and to know my space.
At the end of life , we will only have ourselves, so it’s important for us to know who we are, and to live up to our own ideas. No one else can know what is best for us. Only we can know that. And what’s good for us may be completely different than what’s good for our neighbor.
Learn not to give a f*ck, this is your life.
Behind these lessons, there are endless days of struggle, mental breakdowns, letting go of all the ideas of who I’ve thought I was, and well…lots of patience and self-love, of calming myself down, and of seeing life as a blessing. There are lessons through everything. I have broadened my consciousness and perspective of who I am.
I recommend anyone who can, to try this. And to not be afraid, to open new doors, and to face your biggest fears.